E.C.W. the three letters that would get the blood pumping to any fan of hardcore Professional Wrestling. The promotion was noted for the stars who would take the barbaric physicality of the sport to near inhuman until it was acquired by the W.W.E. In the year 2000, a year before that fate, it came time for the franchise to attempt a home console videogame release. One that would live up to its name, in ECW Hardcore Revolution.
The game lets you recreate or concoct a variety of E.C.W. matches. From standard one-one brawls, two-on-two tag team matches to any combination of participants. For those seeking a little more flavour, there are Lumberjack matches to even WWE style Royal Rumble (Predicting the company’s fate). As such, most matches operate with typical wrestling fashion. You win with either a Pin or Submission, also T.K.O. and D.Q.s are available. Even extreme qualifiers, like I Quit and First Blood matches are available and the barbed wire matches that brought the brand fame. In short, whatever match you want to recreate or fantasy book you have the power to do so. You can even schedule your own Pay Per View consisting of up to eight custom-designed matches or jumping into the Career mode and taken your chosen star to the top.
The roster also boasts the brunt of the talent of the franchise Ryno, New Jack, Tommy Dreamer, et al. Even those who had arguably wider recognition during their tenure on W.W.E. like Dawn Marie and of course the legendary Rob Van Dam, whose likeness is posted across this game. All those have voiced lines and have their move sets have been recreated. Joey Styles commentates, as he did during the promotion’s height, to great effect. You can even create your wrestler and it is nice to have the ability to have your creation take on the might Sabu. The recognisable arenas also make an appearance and seeing the iconic Hammerstein Ballroom or the bricked entrance. All this help to recreate the scenes fans would see at home, only with the player calling the shots.
But none of that matters so much if the wrestling is not up to scratch. While you can let the C.P.U. duke it out amongst itself, The move set is straightforward enough if you want to get in the fray yourself. The multi-buttoned controller does an intuitive job of matching the player’s inputs with the action. There are also some slight differences between the home console versions, with the PlayStation version having video support for example.
E.C.W.’s video game debut sets up an entertaining and controllable slice of the promotion’s action. Making great strides in emulating the show’s razmataz on the somewhat limited platforms. The promotion’s height is encased in the cartridge and disc, allowing recreations of memorable highlights, or creating new ones themselves. As a video game introduction to a franchise steeped in legacy, E.C.W. Hardcore Revolution sure makes a valid attempt to live up to the name.